During SEL day, students at Leonia take time to reorganize their thoughts and prioritize their mental health. In Homeroom and English class, students were asked to take 5 deep breaths, list 4 things they notice around them, identify 3 things they are grateful for, say 2 positive self-talk statements, and 1 thing that they are looking forward to. It is important to start the day off with positive thoughts and it is great that students have finally been given the opportunity to do so, even if it is only for one day. It is necessary for teachers to be aware that high school students may be overwhelmed or struggling mentally and for students to be sympathetic towards not only themselves, but also their peers.
SEL day was a day of activities that had to do with mental health and therapy. Therapy dogs were brought in for students to pet in order to soothe those who may be stressed during their classes. Being around the dogs was a calming experience as they are trained therapy dogs who have had an abundance of experience with children at school, and therefore they are not aggressive or overwhelming in the slightest. Someone who may be afraid of dogs could take the time to pet them and not have any worries of aggressive behavior such as biting. Not only were the dogs just a genuinely happy and innocent sight to behold, it is always calming to pet a fluffy dog when you aren’t feeling your best at school.
– Katerina Romanides
On SEL day is important to be more aware of your feelings and how to begin a day with a positive mindset. I feel like SEL day is a way for students to realize what they are grateful for. For someone to have gratitude everyday can leave them with more awareness of their life. The school offering coloring and therapy dogs left the students with a stress reliever, especially with the students bombarded with exams and SATs. The school should offer more of these days so that the students can have a comfortable and accepting atmosphere that students are excited to come to.
SEL day for me was very calming and smoothing. Especially the therapy dogs, even looking at the dogs made me destress. Being with my friends and with the dogs just made my day a whole lot better and made me think more positively. The “yay” for the day made me realize the many things that are positive in my life, instead of focusing on the negatives. Coloring with the concern was also a great stress reliever. SEL day for me and many other students was extremely helpful for those struggling with a lot of stress.
– Anna Kim
SEL day is a day at Leonia High School that prioritizes self care and mental health awareness. The school offers therapy dogs, coloring with school counselors, filling a jar with positive affirmations, and a homeroom dedicated to writing about things you are grateful for and what you can look forward to. The school does this because they are aware of how important mental health is for a school environment to function well. Leonia takes mental health very seriously and a lot of effort is put into the activities that can help destress. Offering these activities allows students to destress and bond with other students and teachers they may have not interacted with before.
My SEL consisted of all of the activities that were offered. In the little theater, there are markers with a big sheet of paper with pictures on it that students were able to color on. THe table next to this one had a big poster paper labeled “Yay of the day”, and on this paper you could write one thing that made you say “yay” for today. In another room, there were therapy dogs named Lola and Cosmo. These are the two sweetest dogs ever, and seeing them can make almost anyone’s day. Students during lunch periods also walked around with a plastic jar full of positive affirmations written on folded sheets of paper. Doing all of these activities allowed me and other students to destress and enjoy doing things we have not done in a long time.
– Isabella Tarabola
During SEL day one of the two activities was coloring. The coloring itself wasn’t half bad. The only issue being someone taking away some of the fun from others. With SEL day being about self care it is difficult to get others to be a part of something nice when to them everything is a joke. But besides that the coloring was handled well and even when the coloring was semi-ruined an attempt to fix it was made.
The other activity was therapy dogs.
– Angel Gomerez
Social emotional learning day (SEL Day) is an important aspect to add to the yearly agenda. Especially around the time of exams or other important academic events. The stress levels tend to rise during academic testing, and sometimes downtime is needed to reduce that. Some things that are offered at Leonia High School are yoga, therapy dogs, and a day like SEL . Days like this are vital to the well-being of both students and teachers.
My experience during SEL day surrounded the activity I prepared alongside my peers in the LHS Mental Health Awareness Club. Being one of the co-presidents of the club, we created a “Jar of Positivity” in which we asked students to write down positive messages on provided slips of paper. We walked around the school hallways, cafeteria, and the little theater in order to collect the positive messages. Overall, the jar was over halfway full of encouraging messages written by both students and teachers. This activity was a great way to both practice being kind and uplifting, while also giving other students the opportunity to reach into the jar and read a message to themselves. It was a successful activity.
– Victoria Grabois